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Adsorption and transport of methane in biochars derived from waste wood

Sadasivam, Bala Yamini, Reddy, Krishna R.
Waste management 2015 v.43 pp. 218-229
activated carbon, adsorption, air pollution, biochar, equations, global warming, landfills, methane, methanotrophs, oxidation, pollution control, seasonal variation, soil, temperature, waste wood, water content
Mitigation of landfill gas (LFG) is among the critical aspects considered in the design of a landfill cover in order to prevent atmospheric pollution and control global warming. In general, landfill cover soils can partially remove methane (CH4) through microbial oxidation carried out by methanotrophic bacteria present within them. The oxidizing capacity of these landfill cover soils may be improved by adding organic materials, such as biochar, which increase adsorption and promote subsequent or simultaneous oxidation of CH4. In this study, seven wood-derived biochars and granular activated carbon (GAC) were characterized for their CH4 adsorption capacity by conducting batch and small-scale column studies. The effects of influential factors, such as exposed CH4 concentration, moisture content and temperature on CH4 adsorption onto biochars, were determined. The CH4 transport was modeled using a 1-D advection–dispersion equation that accounted for sorption. The effects of LFG inflow rates and moisture content on the combined adsorption and transport properties of biochars were determined. The maximum CH4 adsorption capacity of GAC (3.21mol/kg) was significantly higher than that of the biochars (0.05–0.9mol/kg). The CH4 gas dispersion coefficients for all of the biochars ranged from 1×10−3 to 3×10−3m2s−1. The presence of moisture significantly suppressed the extent of methane adsorption onto the biochars and caused the methane to break through within shorter periods of time. Overall, certain biochar types have a high potential to enhance CH4 adsorption and transport properties when used as a cover material in landfills. However, field-scale studies need to be conducted in order to evaluate the performance of biochar-based cover system under a more dynamic field condition that captures the effect of seasonal and temporal changes.